Ecuador says WikiLeakers founder Assange is seeking asylum

CNN on June 19, 2012 released the following:

“By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and has formally requested asylum, Ecuador’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

Ricardo Patino read a statement to reporters at a news conference in Quito. He took no questions.

Assange has been fighting for a year and a half against being sent to Sweden for questioning about accusations of sexual abuse. Two women accused him in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them during a visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents.

Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of “unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape,” according to a Supreme Court document.

Assange has been under house arrest in Britain since December 2010. He has maintained his innocence and claims the allegations against him are politically motivated. He fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, authorities there could hand him over to the United States, where he then could be prosecuted for his role in the leaking of classified documents.

WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others. It also has published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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